Not Just About You

Reflection for Saturday Daily Mass readings can be found on USCCB website by clicking here.

“O give thanks to the Lord for He is good: for his love endures for ever. Who can tell the Lord’s mighty deeds? Who can recount all his praise? They are happy who do what is right, who at all times do what is just. O Lord, remember me out of the love You have for Your people.” - Psalm 106:1-4 

Prayer: Lord, Your mercies are endless and the treasury of Your compassion is inexhaustible, O how do You love my so, it is more than I can bear. If I am tempted to beg You to love someone else this greatly, I see that You already do. Hold me, strengthen me, support me, that Your love can overwhelm me. Amen. 

Not Just About You 

Our first reading and psalm call to mind the mercies of God, they set us up for the treasured story that Jesus gives to us. 

One of the things that I love to contemplate, is that this story the story of the prodigal son is a story that Jesus gave in response to a complaint put forward by the Pharisees and scribes. They complained saying, “This man [Jesus] welcomes sinners and eats with them.” What they are vocalizing is their own bewilderment at Jesus, how can this action of being with sinners be the right thing to do? Should not the sinners be changed first in order that they then join?

There are many rich treasures to be drawn from this parable of the prodigal son. The emphasis for today that I want to share is that it is not just about him. He needs the father and the father loves him. The son went his own way only to spend and exhaust himself, finding life empty and alone. In the lowly condition of not even being able to eat the food for the pigs, he remembered a better life with his father. In order to have a better life he knew that he needed the father. Again, in his own mind he thought that the only way that he could return was to be treated as a hired worker. That was the only outcome he could think of on his own. But the father showed a different response than anything that entered his mind. His father could still do more for him than he could imagine.

The older son lived a different life in response to the father, the older son lived and worked with the father, but like the younger son was limited in his thinking and did not fully live with the father or in his household as the older son's disposition and thinking limited him. He did not rightly see his father. He did not let the full goodness of the father raise him up to new heights.

The point that I want to emphasize is that Jesus eats with sinners because we need him to help us grow. On our own left to our own thinking, we will not rise to our full potential. Those who the Pharisees and scribes label as sinners might always remain in their state. The Pharisees themselves might never rise above doing what they think is asked of them, what the right thing is. They might never realize the bounty of the Father. The riches that He desires to share with them. For us we do not want to only think about ourselves, but ask God to help us understand His ways, to see who He is more clearly, and to receive all that He desires to share with us and all our brothers and sisters. When looking to God it is not a competition, when we all receive what God desires to give, the gifts multiply, my blessings become a blessing to your life, and your blessings bless my life. This is due to the goodness of God.

May God richly bless you!

-Fr. Jeremy

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